Mixed Game Tournaments
Multigame tournaments are becoming increasingly popular on tournament menus. They may be served with various names such as – S.H.O.E., H.O.E., H.O.S.E. and H.O.R.S.E.
Any combination of hold’em (H), Omaha high-low split (O), seven-card stud (S), stud eight-or-better (E), and occasionally, razz (R) comprise the usual mix of multigame tournaments. Sometimes, you will find tournaments that use only two games, such as half hold’em and half stud, or half hold’em and half Omaha high-low. You can do well in mixed-game events, if you like to play a variety of poker games, and for this reason, here are a few suggestions regarding half-and-half tournament strategy.
One of the most played games in a half-and-half tournament is limit hold’em, so being a skilled hold’em player gives you an extra edge the majority of the time. The exception to this is half hold’em-half stud events. Stud is a game of equal or greater skill than hold’em and has five betting rounds. Therefore, as important as being skillful in hold’em is being proficient in stud. The key difference is that more multiway hands usually are played during the hold’em rounds. These tournaments begin with eight players at a table, which in hold’em alters your starting position requirements by one full position and as soon as you lose someone by two positions. In general, during the hold’em half you should limp less and raise more from the early rounds on. When the table gets down to six or seven players, there will be fewer multiway pots in the hold’em segment, so big cards will increase in value and small pairs and suited connectors will decrease in value. A lot more ante stealing occurs during the stud portion as the table gets shorter. In fact, in shorthanded seven-card stud tournament play, ante stealing is crucial to maintaining your chip status. You must maintain an aggressive posture to keep your opponents off your back, which tends to force them to have a decent hand to play against you when you are going for the steal.
At the final table when play is down to only two or three players remaining, you will have to do considerably more raising than calling in both hold’em and stud. Just remember that seven-card stud is a game of strong boards, so a high upcard can be intimidating at times. Sometimes, an ace upcard alone can be enough to cause your opponents to fold when you play it strongly.
In half hold’em-half Omaha split tournaments, the focus shifts back to hold’em. Because of the split-pot aspect of Omaha high-low, hands take longer to play and many pots are divided between the high and low hands. These two factors decrease the number of hands that can be played during the Omaha rounds. Chip movement becomes less evident and less frequent than in hold’em.
A very strong, selectively aggressive approach to Omaha split is necessary in this type of tournament because Omaha has four betting rounds, during any of which you can get beat or bluffed and lose a lot of chips. Therefore, you should be less inclined to take an aggressive preflop approach when you have a medium or small stack of chips; wait until after the flop to do your gambling. Remember that you are nearly as likely to pick up the blinds by raising in Omaha high-low as you are in other games, because there are so many card combinations that could justify defending the blinds.
Playing a strong hold’em game can set you up very nicely for the Omaha split segment, especially if you have frequently put your hold’em opponents on the defensive. It is especially important to play the selective-aggressive strategy, if you have built up a large stack going into the Omaha round. With a small to medium stack, play more conservatively during Omaha high-low.